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Unhappy Disney Workers in Hong Kong and China

12 Sep

Two news stories caught my eye today, technically unrelated but both datelined “Hong Kong”.

DIS News reports that Disney has been found to violate Chinese labor laws:

Workers at a Chinese factory making Disney toys are overworked, underpaid, exposed to dangerous toxins and forced to live in filthy conditions, a labour rights group said in a report Wednesday.

The EarthTimes reports that things aren’t all that much happier at Hong Kong Disneyland:

On top of its disappointingly low crowds, a survey conducted by the Disney Cast Members Union among 470 of the 5,000-odd staff found that 63 per cent were unhappy with management, complaining largely of unequal treatment and what they see as unfair work distribution.

More than 80 per cent of respondents said they wanted Hong Kong Disneyland to bring its labour practices in line with those at the Disney park in Florida, where staff can be accompanied by union officials at disciplinary hearings and have access to independent arbitration.

Bob Iger Argues for Baby Einstein’s Merits

14 Aug

Just saw this on DIS News: The Walt Disney Company is demanding that University of Washington retract its Baby Einstein study. From Bob Iger’s letter:

The study fails to account for, let alone assess, the interactive nature of products such as Baby Einstein, seemingly dismisses the importance of interactivity as a factor by assuming without proof that interaction is equally important regardless of content design, and then undermines even that unproven assumption by conceding that the study “cannot capture the quality of [parent-child] interactions, which surely vary.”

While it is indisputable that children develop at different rates and differ in their innate abilities, there is no attempt to control for these differences which are particularly important in the sample of younger babies.

Iger would seem to be agreeing with Sarah, who posted yesterday on my blog that the results of the University of Washington survey just suck.

My scientific mind would like to see more studies. As a parent, my gut feeling and anecdotal experience say that talking to your kids is a more effective way to teach them language than any other method (surely that’s how evolution should have set things up here). Don’t go thinking that this means I didn’t let my kid watch Sesame Street videos though . . . I can sing Ernie’s greatest hits with the best of ’em.

Tempest in a Teacup

18 Jul

From DIS News:

A 52-year-old Alabama woman was arrested on suspicion she beat and choked a woman who was allowed ahead of her while waiting to board a tea cup ride at Walt Disney World, according to authorities.

Sounds like somebody needs to switch to decaf.

Tigger Socks Protected Under First Amendment

4 Jul

San Francisco Chronicle has the scoop (hat tip to Mousevine!):

As long as they’re not carrying messages about “bong hits 4 Jesus,” students have the right to express themselves in the clothing they wear to school, whether it includes a cancer awareness pin or embroidery of Tigger on their socks, a Napa County judge has ruled in halting enforcement of a school’s dress code.

For the past nine years, Redwood Middle School in Napa has required students’ clothing and backpacks to be entirely solid colors and has banned pictures, words, symbols or patterns — except the school logo — as well as jeans or “denim-looking” clothes.

So, um, I guess those “bong hits for Tigger” shirts are out, but now the socks are A-OK.

My favorite commentary during the battle for Tigger socks was posted recently (but before the ruling above) by Little Tigger, on Mr Broke Hoedown’s blog Collateral Damage:

I will always wear my Tigger overalls,
I refuse to wear stupid plain growedup
clothes, if it becomes law, it will
be the first law I will have broken
in my whole life.

Small Explosion in Back Lot at Downtown Disney

2 Jul

From the Orlando Sentinel:

A Disney security officer on bike patrol called deputies at about 12:30 a.m. he heard a noise and saw white smoke coming from a garbage can in a back lot at of Downtown Disney, said Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty.

The garbage can is in the far lot behind the Cirque du Soleil theater, going toward the golf course at the Saratoga Springs Resort, Prunty said. There are no attractions or shops in that area.

When deputies arrived, they secured the area and later reported no damage or injuries.

Interesting that it happened in a back lot, nowhere near the areas most of us think of when we think “Downtown Disney.” Also, I’ve gotta wonder if there’s any relationship to earlier reports of a Disney Cast Member facing charges for bragging about placing a pipe bomb at Downtown Disney, which in that case was near Fulton’s Crab House.

Push the Talking Trash Can could not be reached for comment, but I think it’s safe to assume he was unharmed.

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